Sara Duterte: Stop dragging me into Bello's cyberlibel case | Inquirer News

Sara Duterte: Stop dragging me into Bello’s cyberlibel case

/ 04:26 PM August 09, 2022
Sara Duterte is proclaimed as PH's 15th vice president

Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio. (Photo from Lakas-CMD)

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Sara Duterte on Tuesday asserted that she did not play a part in the arrest of her former rival for the vice presidency Walden Bello, which stemmed from a cyberlibel case filed by a former Davao City official.

Bello, a staunch critic of both the current and former administration, was arrested by the Quezon City Police District Station 8 in Project 4, Quezon City on Monday night for two counts of cyber libel.

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READ: Walden Bello arrested over cyberlibel case filed by ex-Davao City info officer

“I never shared my spotlight with Walden Bello despite the offensives he launched against me. I was focused on drilling my education platform in all the rallies that I could muster. In fact, I have never filed a libel case in my life. Criticisms do not deserve even a backward glance because the accomplishments of Davao City under my leadership are already set in stone,” Duterte said in a statement.

She reiterated that the right to freedom of speech and expression “does not protect anyone from defiling the name and reputation of others.”

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“Instead of deflecting blame, playing the victim of an imaginary case of political persecution, and dragging me into his legal woes, I suggest that Mr. Bello be reminded of the fact that a civilized and democratic society does not respect hubris,” Duterte added.

She later noted: “Mr. Bello should focus on salvaging what remains of his dignity and self-respect, I am asking him to stop obsessing over me — and stop blaming me for his fall from grace.”

‘Not the behavior of a democratic personality’

Bello struck back by saying that Duterte’s response to his arrest “evades the central issue: that she is the moving force behind this brazen effort to subvert my freedom of speech.”

“The cyber libel charge against me was a vindictive response to questions I raised about Vice President Duterte’s performance as mayor of Davao that she was expected to answer as a candidate for higher office,” he said in a Facebook post.

Bello further argued: “Instead of engaging in democratic exchange, her camp weaponized the law by filing a cyber libel case against me,  declared me persona non grata in Davao, and branded me a narco politician.”

The longtime activist also noted that “this is not the behavior of a democratic personality, but of one who has little respect for freedom of speech and knows only the art of intimidation.”

“Flowery rhetoric will not disguise Sara Duterte’s assault on a fundamental democratic right. She should act in a manner that befits a vice president and cease disgracing herself and her office by her futile defense of an indefensible act,” he added.

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To recall, the cyber libel case against Bello was lodged by Duterte’s former information officer Jefry Tupas, which seeks P10 million in damages after the former had allegedly called her a drug addict and dealer.

READ: Bello: Cyberlibel suit is Inday Sara’s ‘smokescreen’ for being absent in debates

This, after she resigned and was fired from her post at the Davao City government on the same day she attended a birthday party where authorities seized around P1.5 million worth of illegal drugs in November 2021.

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Walden Bello’s arrest an act of political repression, says Ka Leody

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TAGS: cyber libel, Jefry Tupas, Sara Duterte, Walden Bello
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